The mother of all spin doctors, Peter Mandelson, is up to his old tricks again – making up stories to try and salvage Starmer’s career as leader of the Labour Party. According to Mandelson, Starmer needs to begin a reviewing party policies because “he still has the 2019 manifesto around his neck”. He goes on to assert that the Covid crisis had somehow overshadowed normal politics and that this meant that Starmer simply wasn’t able to do more “day-to-day politics”. The fact that the Labour Party was polling reasonably well up until about 3 months ago speaks volumes. In January 2021, Labour were averaging about 2 points behind the Tories but then suddenly took a dive in February when they dropped to an average 4 points behind the Tories and then, more recently, they hit an average low of 8 points behind the Tories in March. In fact, in one recent poll we saw a 13 point deficit. I suggest, therefore, the facts demonstrate pretty clearly that the manifesto pledges of 2019 have nothing what-so-ever to do with Starmer’s poor polling over the last 2 months.
As far as the assertion that the Covid crisis has somehow overshadowed normal politics, I would argue, if anything, the crisis exposed a gaping weaknesses in Tory party governance, as well as their complete and utter incompetence and their shameful opportunism with £billions in COVID contracts being handed out to private companies, linked directly to the Tory party, companies who were simply not fit for purpose. Compared to the divisive issue of Brexit that the Corbyn leadership had to deal with for 5yrs and the incessant attacks from the right within their own party, not wishing to sound too crass but the COVID/NHS crisis of the last year was a veritable gift to the Starmer leadership.
Of course it comes as no surprise that Starmer would turn to Peter Mandelson in a time of crisis – not the COVID crisis of course, no, as this crisis is born of his own failings as a Labour leader. The Sunday Times reported in February that Tony Blair’s former strategist had been drafted in to help “craft a message that it is hoped will win the keys to No 10” and I’m guessing he’s also been given free rein to just make things up.
Perhaps, Mandelson, if you genuinely give a flying fig about the election prospects of the Labour Party, you might like to consider the damage that’s been done by so-called Labour ‘centrists’ (like you) to the wider reputation of the Labour Party. Anyone can understand why a party in turmoil with right wing factions fighting the unions and even the wider party membership – slandering and smearing the members, shutting down all debate and normal party processes, hoisting hand picked right wing candidates on to constituencies and splitting the party on numerous key policies (not least of all our approach to Brexit) – might leave voters somewhat baffled and confused about what it is that the Labour Party actually stands for anymore. This factionalism was still very much clearly in evidence when the current Labour leader, Keir Starmer, recently admitted that he was actually behind the decision to remove the whip from Jeremy Corbyn, after having previously claimed that he had nothing to do with it.
I’d also suggest that your own continued efforts to smear the Labour left and even leading Union representatives, as ‘antisemites’ further compounds the problem. According to the Jewish Chronicle you recently launched an attack on what you refer to as the “corrupt far-left” during a speech that you gave to over 200 Labour activists in which you called on Starmer to remove the alleged “antisemites who are still in our party in large numbers” and claimed that Corbyn and Len McCluskey had somehow undermined Starmer’s ‘leadership credentials’. Quite frankly, from what we’ve seen so far, I’d suggest Starmer has no leadership credentials to be undermined!
I’m not sure the centrist fantasy was ever achieved, even during the Blair/Bown years, but I’m pretty sure it’s gone the way of the dodo now and Mandelson might have been the king maker once but he’s either lost his touch or he’s just doing his best to polish a turd. Trouble is, his tactics have become really rather transparent now. My message to ‘New Labour’? In the immortal words of Kelis.. “you might trick me once, I won’t let you trick me twice!”
Spotlight is 100% independent. Our content is free for all to read and share and we also prefer to stay advert free. If you appreciate this content then please consider supporting Spotlight by subscribing or making a one off donation. You can take out a monthly subscription for as little as £1 a month or you can make a one-off donation if you prefer.